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Student iPad initiative begins in Menahga

By Anna Erickson

Menahga students are diving into some new technology with the introduction of iPads.

Menahga School is implementing the High Five Initiative, with the mission of providing opportunities for all students to become life-long learners with the necessary competencies, skills, understandings and value to contribute to and succeed in a changing society.

Each student in grades 9-12 has the opportunity to have their own iPad. In addition, students in grades k-8 will have access to iPads. All certified staff will also have an iPad.

Menahga High School Principal Dan Stifter has been conducting parent meetings to discuss the iPad implementation and expectations. Before students are able to have an iPad, they must sign an agreement along with a parent.

“We’re at about 80 percent of our students with iPads,” Stifter said Thursday.

The hope is to have iPads in the hands of all students this spring. The school district will purchase specific apps for students but students are also able to download their own apps as long as they are appropriate.

“Right now, most teachers are trained in using them and will start working with students on ways to utilize them in the classroom,” Stifter said.

For example, English teacher Bruce Bolton was brainstorming with his public speaking students Thursday on ways to use the iPads.

They will use their iPads to aid in research and use during debates.

Stifter said the possibilities are endless.

“I think it’s exciting and this will be an asset for students and teachers,” he said.

Many of the teachers are approaching the iPads with cautious optimism and will be implementing them slowly this spring.

According to the High Five Initiative, the district has recognized that today’s students need different sets of skills than have been required in the past.

“Students must build on their problem solving, critical thinking, communication and technological skills,” the initiative states. “It is our goal that students are able to find, synthesize, communicate information and collaborate with the global community.”

Students have been already been busy working on their iPads to access their school e-mail accounts and do research.

Sfiter joked that, “lunch time has been a lot quieter this week,” with students buried in their new technology.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561